Sunday, April 24, 2011

More Then and Nows from Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario(Thunder Bay)....

Long overdue on this blog page are a few of my favourite "Then and Nows" .....with help from the Brill Bus era in Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario!

This intersection at Fort William Road and 11th ave shows an incredible amount of changes and differences between the 1968 and 2010 photos. The big item here is of course the CNR ore trestle shown in the background of the first photo which has long been scrapped. The next item is the fact that two sets of tracks were once there. The next item is the lack of sidewalks on Fort William Road in the first one and also that the road was only two lanes of traffic compared to four lanes now. An outstanding difference is the incredible amount of overhead wires and telephone poles in the first photo, as compared to the lack of same in the colour photo. Finally, the wooden fence for Lakehead Scrap Metal is long gone as shown in the first photo.

Thanks again to the Scalzo Collection for a picture of the Brill bus just west of the Red River Road and Hodge Street corner taken in about 1969. The bus photo clearly shows a little corner store which is so rare to see on any street corner today. In the 2010 photo the house on the right is still there with a few minor changes and the corner store is now just a residential home. I sure miss those great little corner stores with racks of penny candy to spend our copper coins on.

This one may be a little difficult to figure out....the 1969 Brill Bus photo shows the bus just crossing Junot Street and heading east down Red River Road. It also shows a Texaco Station on the North/West corner which is now a Shell Station. The Shell Station sign on the north/east corner of the new photo is a current design which replaced the old style sign in the bus photo. Both these photos were taken at the same angle at the exact same location.

No one really knew what "The Arcade" meant on the facade of the building in the very early Brill bus photo(maybe it really was an arcade at some time or another). This building still exists today with the same facade "The Arcade". If you can't remember where this's directly across from the old day and current day CPR station on South Syndicate how things change!!! ....but not totally.

Here is the old Bank of Montreal Building as shown in about 1948 in the Brill Bus photo. The rubber tired Brill Trollys were just starting up in the Lakehead cities then. The building with the shoe store is now long gone, but the unique corner BMO building still stands today as solid as the structure was back in the late 1940's.

Click on photos to enlarge(sorry but most of these are in fairly small format)!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter 2011.....

Well...It's been 2 years Hot Rods and Jalopies has been on the web......just wanted to wish all our followers and anyone who dropped by over the past two years a Happy and Blessed Easter....Thanks for watching and keep in touch.... Dave and Family at HR&J

Here's a couple of little Easter cards but do you know why the pig is disguised as the Easter Bunny? ........scroll down to see the next picture.

This is a 1938 advertisement from Good Housekeeping magazine showing what Snow White and the Seven dwarfs are having for Easter dinner......Oh Yes and then we need to have a couple of Easter Greetings with jalopies....right??

Finally, what every hot rod guy wants in his Easter basket............a set of CHOCOLATE tools....where can I get some!!!!
Click on all pictures to enlarge!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twin City Gas, Kings Stereo and The Tropics.......

Most guys will say that the most important things in life when he was a teenager was Hot Rods, girls, rock 'n' roll and burgers 'n' fries, and in no particular order. When the Twin City Gas building was torn down last year to accommodate the new court house in downtown Fort William, a ton of memories came flooding back.

Here was the Twin City Gas building, actually not that old as it was built in the late 1950's. It eventually became known as the King's Stereo building, as owner Howard King purchased the building that housed his forever remembered stereo store.

You would walk through the main doors and go down the stairs instead of right into King's Stereo, then you'd be in the Tropics Restaurant, well known for its excellent cuisine, including the typical standards as well as Chinese. The Tropics was a great spot to go for a first date......a little better than the Lorna Doone but still on the affordable side. It was also frequented by many folks that attended evening functions at the Fort William Gardens, and then wanted a good place to go eat and gab after the event. It was also a favourite spot after attending movies at the Capitol Theatre or the Odeon here in what used to be a thriving downtown Fort William.

Next: The Menu

Scroll Down....don't miss all the story....

.....and WOW...check out the prices...a club steak for $2.85, and a hamburger steak sandwich for only 40 cents.

I met Howard King back then as many young guys had, as he had some of the best stereo equipment in the Lakehead, and also the best prices. Howard was quite a gentleman too, as you could also cut a good deal on the latest stereo supplies. I had purchased a number of items from King's through the years and when the Tropics closed, everything kind of remained like it once was down the stairs for a few years until I got wind that Howard had purchased all the inventory. Being in the store one day it got out that Howard was going to sell the Seeburg M100C Jukebox that I had listened to in the tropics a number of years before. It was going to auction until I made Howard an offer that he couldn't refuse and it has been in my rec room ever since. It needed some restoration and a tweek every so often, but remains to this day as the favourite item I have collected over time. In later years I had also acquired a complete soda fountain that was also in The Tropics from Mr. King, which was so heavy that four guys couldn't even lift it. I had it stored at a friends place and it basically disappeared over time.

Here is my Seeburg M100C as it is today, with all the old 45's inside. This specific model was the one that you saw at the beginning of every Happy Days episode and it also appeared in many Elvis films. I had read somewhere that this particular model was Elvis' favourite Jukebox.

Next: The End!

So, We all miss King's Stereo(T.C. Gas building), and the old Tropics restaurant.....and like everything else good in our lives, it all has to come to an end. Thank you Howard for the privilege of knowing you and the joy that was preserved by selling that Jukebox to me. Sorry...It's NOT for sale!

Click on all photos to enlarge!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

History of the North American Steve Miller

Here is a project that I had planned for over a year now and just got all the articles together to go ahead. My good friend Steve Miller, writer, car aficionado, musician, model car builder, etc, etc., had written a number of articles for the now defunct "Canadian Classics and Performance" Magazine. He had made a number of local car enthusiasts famous by writing feature stories about them and their cars in the pages of the same magazine. He wrote toy car, car modeling, model tech articles, and many others all related to, or associated with our hobby.
One of my favourites that I think stood out the most was the photo and story series from 2003 on the "History of the North American Drive-In", which is featured here in its entirety on Hot Rods and Jalopies. Remember, North America does encompass Canada, and we all know that diners and drive-ins go hand in hand with rock and roll, girls, guys and hot rods.
Steve's writing career was too short lived as the magazine had ended, but the years he devoted to his articles and the time he spent showed that he was a writer to be reckoned with. Apples don't fall to far from the tree in Steve's family as his father Ron(whom I was privileged to meet) was an acclaimed chef and writer for many outdoors magazines including "The Outdoor Edge" and had also written a few cooking and outdoors books of his own.
Steve's knowledge in the car world came naturally too as he spent most of his teenage years wrenching, painting and handling custom body work at his grandfather's shop in Lafayette, Indiana....also where Steve was born. These talents continued into Canada in his younger years as he moved here to marry Jean, the love of his life.
I was drawn to Steve quite a few years back, by his acute knowledge of the custom and hot rod world especially the California car culture of the 1950's and 1960's, by his musical talents which I have learned tons from, and the best by his gift of gab, which helped add many hours kibitzing about our shared interests.
So, take your time, click twice if needed on each photo page to get it full screen size and read away....leave it and come back again and again until you have read it all. It's well worth it. Great job Steve.... and thanks, Dave. This fairly recent picture of Steve was taken during a mutual model car display at a local Model Railroad show!

Thanks again to Steve for his talents and friendship!